A Publicist Du Jour Offers a Teachable Moment on Crisis Management
Last Friday, I hit the radio airwaves with Humor Mill radio, ranting and raving about the whole Donald Sterling-Clippergate-NAACP-racism fiasco. In my world, that was a public relations nightmare for Donald Sterling, the Los Angeles Clippers; but more notably, for the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP. The NAACP – that is, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. I want to spell out its acronym so we can be reminded of what the civil rights organization represents. Leon Jenkins, the president of the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP, took a big hit in the arena of public opinion when offering his resignation for the Sterling racism debacle. Talk about collateral damage!
Often times, I’m asked: “What is a publicist?” And I’m truly surprised every time I get that question because it seems so obvious what a publicist does. But I guess not, because it took my mother a minute to figure out what I do for a living, too. In laymen’s terms, a publicist is a person who promotes and protects the image and brand of a person, place or thing. A good publicist is a salesperson and a master of persuasion.
A publicist uses words and creative imagery to shape the thoughts and opinions of a targeted audience. Sometimes, a publicist will “spin” a story to persuade public opinion in favor of or against a person, place or thing. Companies spend millions of dollars each year on advertising and fancy public relation campaigns to manipulate the thoughts and public opinions about its products and services.